Last weekend, the who’s who of GT3 teams met at the famous roller coaster in the Ardennes. The 7,004-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the highlights of the GT3 racing calendar. With a total of 12 cars, the Porsche customer teams fielded the most drivers of any manufacturer, with 58 vehicles competing in total. After 24 exhausting hours, the KCMG-team celebrated fifth and twelfth place.
Accidents on and off the track.
Ten customer teams with a total of twelve 911 GT3 R race cars took up the challenge in Spa-Francorchamps. A 24-hour roller coaster ride. However, the initial phase of the race was dominated by a serious crash in the Raidillon curve. Through no fault of their own, the three Porsche works drivers behind the wheel of the Rutronik race car had to withdraw, bringing the 24-hour race to an early end for Kévin Estre, Richard Lietz and Sven Müller. Fortunately, Kévin Estre didn’t sustain any injuries and was discharged from hospital following the collision. But his Porsche works driver teammate, Laurens Vanthoor, was unlucky: the Belgian suffered serious facial injuries during a collision in the paddock. This incident marked the end of the race for the KCMG 911 driver, leaving his teammates, Maxime Martin and Nick Tandy, to complete the rest of the race without him.
Rainy final phase in Belgium.
With blisters on their hands and totally exhausted, the two moved up into the top 5. Several yellow phases and a heavy downpour towards the end of the race allowed the #47 car to advance again. Its sister car, #18, crossed the finish line in twelfth place after 24 hours. The GPX Racing team, consisting of Earl Bamber along with works drivers Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet, had to pull their 911 GT3 R out of the race prematurely, due to a steering problem. Dinamic Motorsport also prematurely withdrew both their cars from the toughest GT3 race. Schnabl Engineering had the best-placed Porsche for a long period, but also had to retire following an accident. A bitter blow for Michael Christensen, Dennis Olsen and Frédéric Makowiecki.
1st Ledogar/Nielsen/Pier Guidi (I/DK/I), Iron Lynx, Ferrari 488 GT3, #51, 556 laps
2. Van der Linde/D. Vanthoor/Weert (ZA/B/B), WRT, Audi R8 GT3, #32, 556 laps
3. Gunn/Soerensen/Thiim (GB/DK/DK), Garage 59, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, #95, 556 laps
5. L. Vanthoor/Martin/Tandy (B/B/GB), KCMG, Porsche 911 GT3 R, #47, 554 laps
12. Burdon/Imperatori/Liberati (AUS/CH/I), KCMG, Porsche 911 GT3 R, #18, 550 laps
20. W. Bamber/Harker/Rivas/Tiller (NZ/NZ/L/D), EBM Giga Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R, #61, 547 laps
26. Allemann/Au/A. Renauer/R. Renauer (CH/GB/D/D), Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911, 542 laps
27. Apotheloz/Buus/Kern/Santamato (CH/DK/D/F), Allied-Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R, #222, 542 laps
33. Basseng/Busch/Decurtins/Lauck (D/D/CH/D), Haegeli by T2 Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R, #166, 518 laps